Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Electric scooters by Bird Rides Inc. will be in Bellwood by the spring, the village’s mayor said. | Courtesy Bird Rides
Saturday, March 12, 2022 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
The village of Bellwood has agreed to allow a startup company based in California to place their electric scooters in the village.
Bird Rides Inc., founded in 2017 by a former Uber and Lyft executive, offers electric scooters for rent. The e-scooters cost $1 to unlock and anywhere between 10 cents and 35 cents a minute afterwards, depending on the market.
Lily Gordon, a spokesperson for Bird Rides, explained in an email that the company plans to place between 25 and 50 e-scooters in Bellwood once they launch later this year. After the launch, residents will be able to download the Bird app to view available scooters in their area, she said.
“We are committed to bringing eco-friendly, micro-electric vehicles to everyone,” Gordon said. “Bellwood was a natural fit given its forward-thinking and innovative mindset as a cornerstone of the redevelopment of the region.”
Gordon said Bird’s Community Pricing Program offers a 50% discount for “low-income riders, Pell grant recipients, select local nonprofit and community organizations, veterans and senior citizens.”
Healthcare workers and emergency personnel get to two free 30-minute rides a day on the e-scooters, she said. Qualifying workers just have to email the company a copy of their medical identification card, name and phone number.
Bellwood Mayor Andre Harvey said Bird Rides reached out to the village, because they wanted Bellwood to be the site of a pilot program, similar to one initiated in Rockford. He said the village will select the specific sites where the e-scooters will be available. The program is anticipated to launch in the spring and summer.
“They’re like Divvy bikes,” Harvey said. “The village will designate the locations of where the scooters will be. We’re still in the preliminary stages, but we’re thinking of the Metra station, Village Hall, the Bellwood senior complex area — centrally located areas where people move around.”
Rockford officials allowed the e-scooters to be used on roads and bike lanes. The maximum speed for the scooters is 15 miles per hour. In addition, riders must be at least 18 years old and the scooters have to be “parked out of the way of pedestrians and never blocking driveways,” according to a 2021 news report by 23 WIFR.
Use of the scooters in Rockford was also limited to an Electric Scooter Zone, with any scooters taken out of the zone “remotely disabled” and users “charged until [the scooters are] returned to the zone and properly parked.”
The regulations in Rockford seem to have been a step ahead of other municipalities who agreed to allow the scooters to enter their borders not long after Bird launched in 2017.
According to a 2018 article in Nashville Business Journal, the scooters were “ill-received in some of the 20 cities in which the company has deployed, while others welcomed the quicker means of getting around […]
“Because they do not use docks, users can park the scooters wherever they end their ride,” according to the article. “At the end of the day, the scooters are collected and returned to their ‘nests’ to recharge. From there, riders can pick the scooters up to use the next morning.”
Business Journal reported that the “root of most cities’ problems with scooter startups is tied to their initial rollout, with companies launching overnight without advance notice to city officials — so there’s no chance to draft safety regulations.
“For most cities, Bird and its competitors have been able to relaunch once officials established regulations around the companies’ operations,” the Journal added.
Bird’s pilot program in Rockford, where city officials seemed to have anticipated the scooters and created regulations for their use in advance, “proved popular,” according to a report published by the Rock River Current several months into the e-scooter pilot program.
The e-scooters arrived in the city in mid-May and by September, “roughly 5,000 individuals have taken a ride, according to data provided by the city. Approximately 1,000 people have used the scooters multiple times.”
Harvey said some residents asked if he intends to create bike lanes for the e-scooters. He said village officials have no plans to do so at this time.
Gordon said that anyone with a Bird account “can report or provide feedback on vehicle-related issues such as poorly parked or damaged vehicles in their area by tapping the yield sign on the bottom left of the in-app Bird map. When a report is submitted, someone is assigned to correct the issue.”
For more information about Bird e-scooters, click here.
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Electric Scooters Coming To Bellwood – Village Free Press |
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